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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sung Dynasty Village

When I went to Hong Kong with my parents back in the late seventies, we went to this tourist attraction called the Sung Dynasty Village. The Sung Dynasty from around 976 AD through 1279 AD and the village is a recreation of a typical town during this age. You'll find people in period costumes going about their business as if it actually were a thousand years ago.

They have tea houses, temples a traditional Chinese opera and a wedding! Oh, you are given old fashioned coins like those used in that period and you can actually use them to buy food at the tea house! These are the ones with the hole in the middle so you can string them up. Of course, these were not genuine antiques and have no value outside the Sung Dynasty Village, but they do make for great souvenirs. It would have been great if those coins have real value and would appreciate over time if you keep them, but I'd stand a better chance of getting such coins from coin dealers like Monaco Rare Coin, where you can find various rare coins for investment or for your personal collection.

I would have loved to go there again on our honeymoon, but I couldn't find it any of the guidebooks, so I thought that the place was probably gone. Lo and behold, it wasn't! The next time I go to Hong Kong, I'll be sure to check it out!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Not Yet

As I've mentioned in my previous post, I still have 9 pounds to go before going back to my prepregnancy weight. I have no plans to do exercises yet because I really can't -- my body has to recover or I'll be doing more harm than good. But to reiterate, 9 pounds is not too bad, considering I'm only 10 days postpartum! I'm in no hurry looking up fat burner reviews, especially since I'm breastfeeding. For 2 reasons: (1) I have the utmost faith that breastfeeding would aid me in my weight loss, as it did during my first pregnancy and (2) precisely because I'm breastfeeding, I'd rather not take in too many supplements since I'm not sure of the effect on my baby.

Now, if I've weaned my baby already and I'm still not within my ideal weight (and shape, of course), I might consider going on a diet and/or exercise program and a doctor recommended supplement.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Gyms and Exercising

Back when I got pregnant with my firstborn, I immediately canceled my membership to a well known gym here. I used my pregnancy as an excuse, but I actually haven't been to the gym in quite a while, and the monthly dues are automatically charged to my credit card. It was not worth it, to say the least. The gym had a reputation for not canceling the membership immediately when you ask them to. Their policy is 3-months' notice, if I remember correctly. Fortunately, since I had my doctor's certificate with me, they agreed to cancel mine immediately. They did tell me that I'm welcome to come back anytime after I give birth so that I can exercise to get back into my prepregnancy shape. I didn't. If I couldn't find the time to go when I was single, what more when I had a child? Especially now with 2 children!

Maybe home gyms would work better for me? That's a big maybe, because my dad actually had one but I never bothered to use the equipment that he bought. What I need is a big dose of initiative to start working out. Not now, though. 1 week post CS is not exactly the right time to start an exercise program. But I do want to look and feel better in the long run.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Just Gave Birth?

If you're Chinese and you've just given birth, visions of yourself cradling your baby in outdoor chairs getting some sun is probably not going to happen, especially if you have a strict mother or mother-in-law. That's because for the first month of confinement, called the "ge-lai" in the Fukien dialect, new mothers are advised to stay indoors and avoid being exposed to "wind". This is supposed to help the mothers grow stronger immediately.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Q&A: Adjusting To Married Life

I got this set of Q&A's from n@w. For a bicultural couple, marriage is quite a challenge, but I guess it does not take just different cultures. The fact that you were raised by different families with different values -- that takes some getting used to.

OK, here goes...

Q1. What was your major adjustment when you started living together after
the wedding?

  • Adjusting to the fact that my money is no longer just mine to spend but part of OUR money. Well, his money is no longer just his to spend but part of OUR money also.
Q2. What was the thing you like most/least about it?
  • Having to ask permission for big purchases because it now affects the family as a whole. For small purchases, we have an allowance for our small luhos (wants).
Q3. Is there something you wish other married couples had told you
beforehand?
  • None that I can think of. Most of the things I encountered after marriage, I already half expected :). I think I was prepared.
Q4. Any tips for other newlyweds living in their new home/with their in
laws?
  • If you're going to live with your in-laws, know their house rules and follow them. Don't expect that things will be the same in your in-law's household. Since you're the newcomer, you have to be one to do the major adjusting.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The In Law Factor Foodie Quiz

For this week's Wifespeaks: Foodie Wednesday, here's an interesting Quiz...

Most questions are in Tagalog, I'll put the English translations (in yellow)....

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1. Kung ang mother in law mo ay isang dish or ulam, ano siya? Pwede mo rin sabihin kung bakit, pero kung ayaw mo, okay lang. If your mother-in-law is a dish, what dish would she be. You can state the reason but it's ok if you don't.

  • Maybe RICE? I think she's the "staple" in my in-law's family. Fits well with any "ulam".

2. Ano ang madalas ihandang pagkain kapag may party sa bahay ng in laws mo? What food is usually served if there's a party at your in-laws' place?

  • barbecue
  • fruit salad
  • meat loaf
  • pasta
  • lechon (bought, not cooked)
  • seafoods (crab, prawns/shrimp etc)
  • dinuguan

3. Ano ang pinakamasarap na pagkain na nailuto ng in laws mo? What is the best tasting dish cooked by your in-laws?

  • My MIL's specialties are -- dinuguan, meat loaf and adobo

4. Anong pagkain ang nailuto mo na para sa in laws mo? What have you cooked for your in-laws?

  • I tried cooking tuna pasta once. Pero di mabenta sa in-laws ko.
  • They liked my sweet and sour pork, pero once ko lang naluto ito.
  • Just realized that I should probably cook more....

5. Meron bang dish na itinuro sa iyo ang in laws mo, either traditional family meal or paborito ng iyong asawa? Is there a dish your in-laws taught you to prepare? Either a traditional family meal or your husband's favorite dish?

  • My MIL taught me her version of adobo, which is what hubby loves most. I have yet to try it, though.

6. Mahalaga ba sa in laws mo na matuto kang magluto bago kayo nagpakasal ni Hubby? Was it important for your in-laws that you know how to cook before you and your husband got married?

  • Not really. It's an advantage but not a requirement that I know how to cook.

7. Anong eating habits ng in laws mo ang na-acquire mo na rin through the years? What eating habits have you acquired from your in-laws through the years?

  • Can't think of any...

8. Meron ka bang unforgettable kitchen moments with your in laws? Do you have any unforgettable kitchem moments with your in-laws?

  • None that I can think of. Shucks, should spend more time in the kitchen.

9. Binibigyan ka ba ng cooking tips ng in laws mo? Ano-ano ito? Did your in-laws give you any cooking tips? What are these?

  • Sorry, really can't think of any....

10. Ano ang paboritong pagkain ng father in law mo? What is your father-in-law's favorite dish?

  • No idea. My father-in-law passed away before I got to know my husband.

11. Mahilig ba sa desserts ang in laws mo? If yes, anong hilig nila? Are your in-laws fond of desserts? If yes, what are their faves?

  • Yes, if it's Fruit salad by MIL!
  • Cathedral windows from Goldilocks is another one they love
  • Not so much with cakes and pastries, but they do eat in moderation (so no need to look for the best diet pill!)

12. Pagdating naman sa inuman after meals, “Go” ba sila or “No”? When it comes to drinking after meals, are they in favor (Go) or not in favor (No) of it?

  • On special occasions, "Go" but in moderation. You're talking about alcohol, right? :P

13. Saan madalas mag-dine out for family dinners ang in laws mo? What restos/eating places do your in-laws go for family dinners?

  • They don't really dine out much, they prefer to just eat in MIL's house. But they like Chinese food, the Saisaki-Dad's-Kamayan buffet, Max's...

14. Mahilig ba sila sa exotic food? If yes, ano-ano ito? Do they like exotic food? If so, what in particular?

  • Depends on your definition of exotic food, actually since I'm Tsinay, some of the food I like are considered exotic pala, while I find some of their food exotic din (they're Ilokano). But they're adventurous enough to try some food that I know other people won't. Sorry di ko lang maisip for now.

15. Lastly, masasabi mo bang bonding moments are “food moments” mo with your in laws? Can you say that food moments with your in-laws are bonding moments?

  • Yes!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Marriage of Cultures

When we get married, we usually get the advise that it's the son (or daughter) you're marrying, not the family. So, you should go with what you want, from the wedding preps, from the money decisions, where you live, etc. etc.

While this may be true in principle, it's a reality that you do marry into another family. Your spouse's family is now your family too (as your family is now also his family). There are certain things that won't be the same. Especially if you come from different cultural backgrounds. Like me and my husband, who come from different backgrounds. He comes from a family of professionals, Pinoy, of course. I come from a family of Tsinoy businesspeople. Of course there are bound to be differences, and when we married each other, we knew about that, but we were already prepared to embrace and adapt.

I am lucky that my in-laws have been pretty good to me. Of course, there are always some things that we learn each day about and from each other, but then as along as we remember to "respect" each other and the differences in our culture and our upbringing, we get along fine.

We started married life living with his family but moved to my mother's house when we had a child. Long story but suffice to say that it was because it was more convenient for us. My husband has been pretty good about adjusting to our living situation, but we do know that sooner or later, when the kids are big enough and no longer need constant supervision by relatives, we'll want to move to our own place (we'll make sure to enlist the services of a reliable mover like moving companies Los Angeles when we do so). It's nothing personal against our folks, it's just that at a certain point in our lives, we should really be an independent family and make our own rules and traditions for our own kids.
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This is my contribution to Wifespeaks: Chika Tuesday. Topic this week is about the in-laws.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

11 More Days!

My OB visit yesterday went smoothly. My OB told me that I gained 1 pound since my last check up, which is just 1 week ago. This is very normal and most of weight seems to go to the baby. In fact, I gained a total of 24 pounds so far for this pregnancy, which is what most OBs and pregnancy books would recommend. Except for my tummy, which is definitely protruding, the rest of me looks almost the same. In fact, people keep telling me that I don't look pregnant from the back :). That means that I do not have to research on how to lose the post pregnancy weight nor look for the top weight loss pills. From my experience with my first pregnancy, though, I should definitely work on my abs as they will not look as tight as before. Maybe crunches will help?

Friday, June 5, 2009

Money Is Unromantic! But...



Money is unromantic. We don't really want to talk about it. It causes conflicts in most relationships, most especially a marriage.

Marriage is a partnership. It's even more obvious in marriages as "my money" and "your money" becomes "our money". Everything becomes conjugal. You no longer have sole control over the money that you earn or the money that you have.

So, I believe this issue should be something that's talked about even before the couple decides to settle down. Who works? Who handles the money? How much to spend on personal expenses? Prenuptial agreement or not? It's not an easy topic to handle, however, it is something that needs to be discussed, especially when both parties come from different backgrounds. I should know, I come from a Tsinay, mostly business people family and my husband comes from an Pinoy background of mostly professionals in the family. There's bound to be differences.

It WILL continue to be an issue even after marriage, when one discovers each other's spending habits. It is part of the adjustment in marriage.

The way we handle our money has evolved throughout our marriage. It will continue to evolve throughout the years. While money has caused some discussions and misunderstandings, it has not reached the point where it threatens to break up our marriage. That's because of COMPROMISE and LOVE, and the desire to do and decide the best for the family as a whole.

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This is my contribution to Wifespeaks: Speak Friday

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Only 2 Weeks To Go!

Only exactly 2 weeks to go, and my Baby Girl's gonna make her much awaited appearance. Since this is an elective Cesarean section, we had the freedom to choose a date, and we chose a date and time that is lucky for her. We're not really superstitious, but then, it doesn't hurt to follow tradition. I mean, you don't really lose anything, right?

For people who wonder why I'm not going through normal spontaneous delivery, it's because my passage is too narrow. I underwent labor during my first pregnancy and even after 12 hours of labor (and 24 hours after my water leaked), I was stuck at 1 cm dilation and my baby never descended.

I'm aware that I won't be having any vacations anytime soon. This does not stop me from dreaming though. I'm looking at Westgate and I think I would have a great time there with my family...when we get the time to have a vacation!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

What If I Won The Lottery?

I don't know if it's common to both cultures (Pinoy and Chinese), but here in the Philippines it's definitely a bad idea to let the whole world know that you've gotten a windfall, like winning the lottery jackpot. So the first thing I'm going to do if I won the lotto is to KEEP QUIET! Hahaha! I don't want to have instant relatives and friends who I never saw before in my life show up at my doorstep for balato (I think it roughly means their share of your blessings). It may sound selfish and cynical, but I've seen too many people who treat "richer" relatives and friends as an instant source of funds for their various wants and needs.

What I will do when I win the lotto, aside from keeping quiet:

  1. Buy a house and lot. It doesn't have to be a very big and opulous one, but one just right for our needs. What's important for me is the location. It has to be in a safe and secure environment, close to our children's school and our work, if possible.
  2. Invest. Buy stocks, bonds, mutual funds -- whatever is feasible at the moment -- at regular intervals. Maybe buy a Jollibee franchise. Put some money in time deposits in different banks (but only up to Php500,000 per account so it will still be covered by PDIC). Buy lots if there are some available.
  3. Set up trust funds and endowment funds for my kids.
  4. Secure my kid's education. Maybe get an educational plan for each of them.
  5. Travel.
  6. Share my blessings. With less fortunate relatives, friends and other people. But again, QUIETLY and discreetly. No need to broadcast the good things you do.
  7. Maintain almost the same lifestyle, and NOT spoil my kids with material things they do not need.
  8. Continue to work as an ophthalmologist. I love my work. I find satisfaction in it. It's a calling and a passion, and it makes me who I am. If I had lots of money though, work is simply fulfilling my passion and not just a way for me to make money.
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This is my contribution to Wifespeaks: Chika Tuesday

Monday, June 1, 2009

Credit and Debt Consolidation

During my grandfather's time, getting a loan is dependent upon trust. They didn't even have written contracts in those days. If you keep your word and pay on the promised date like an honorable Chinese should, you can be assured that you will be able to borrow money again the next time you need it. Word also travels fast, so if you build a reputation of being a deadbeat and not paying off your loans, the whole Chinese community here in Manila would know about it...and there goes your chances of borrowing more funds.

It's pretty simple and straightforward, but somehow, it's no longer applicable in the present society. First and foremost, there are a lot more to debts nowadays than it used to be. You didn't get into credit card debt before because plastic was unheard of in those times. But now they're probably the biggest source of consumer debt. I just realized lately that there are so many different types of loans one can avail of -- housing loans, car loans, personal loans, business loans, etc. from different banks and financial institutions. Which is all well and good if you budget well and pay your amortizations on time. However, if you have some trouble with your cash flow right now, that may not be the case. While you struggle to find money to pay off your loans, it becomes bigger due to the compounding nature of loans. That's why in these hard times, you do need to look into things like debt consolidation in order to make you life much simpler. You can actually get debt consolidation loans so that you only need to pay one institution instead of paying several ones. The advantage to this is you only need to pay one interest, usually at a lower negotiated rate, than several different interest rates to different institutions.

Of course, it's still best not to get into debt, but sometimes money is tight and you have no choice at the moment. Just be sure that you do not go overboard and get buried in debt that you cannot eventually pay off in the future.